John Smid, President of 'Love in Action', the Memphis-based religious ministry that claims to help people struggle with homosexuality to change their sexual identity, responded to my Memphis Flyer Viewpoint Column in this weeks Memphis Flyer Letter to the Editor. Yes, unlike many in the gay community, I support the right of people who do not want to be "gay" for religious reasons to seek help to change their sexual identity and try to adopt a "straight" identity and live a "straight" lifestyle according to their religious beliefs. What I DO NOT support is forcing people, especially young people, into these programs against their will, which has happened recently in Love in Action. And groups like Love in Action and Exodus International often go beyond their religious ministries and mission and provide political support to groups who want to deny civil rights to gays and lesbians. So John, I will support your right to choose to be "straight" if you will support the rights of those of us who choose to live a happy healthy gay life. I hope you will not impose your religious beliefs upon us or deny us OUR right to choose.
While Darth Vice Cheney Accuses Democrats of Undermining U.S. Troops in Iraq, the fact is that it is CHENEY AND BUSH who have undermined our troops and the U.S. Military. The Democratic House and Senate have passed a bill to provide the funding Bush requested for the war in Iraq, but set a timetable to withdraw the troops in 2008. While many progressive/anit-war Democrats were upset that the Democratic congress approved the funding, the political reality is that Bush/Cheney would have used such a vote to accuse the Democrats of not supporting the troops. By aproving the funding with conditions for withdrawal, the Democrats have now put Bush in the position of vetoing the bill, and thus cutting off funds for the war, or signing off on the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2008. Depending out how you look at it, Pelosi and the Democrats may have the upper hand on this one by siding with the majority of the American people who favor the withdrawal, but do not want to cutt off the funding for the military right now. Time will tell if this was the right thing to do, but it will be interesting to watch how Cheney & Bush will try to accuse the Democrats of not supporting the troops while Bush vetos the bill to provide the funds the military requested. Maybe, for once, the Democrats have outmaneuvered the Republicans.
This week's Memphis Flyer has published a highly edited and very abbreviated version of my "Can Straight People Change?" article with a bad title I didn't choose: Choosing The Gay Option It's a "readers digest" version, sure to upset people on both sides of the issue.
I'm a little more optimistic than Larry Kramer, but not much. Unfortunately, we cannot even count on our so-called "liberal allies" in the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton lost my vote with her response to questions about Gen. Pace's comments about gays being immoral. If she can't respond to that by affirming the humanity and equality of gays and lesbians, she doesn't deserve our vote. Obama wasn't much better...but yes they are better than most of the Republican candidates except Rudy Giuliani. If the Presidential race is between Giuliana and Clinton, the gay vote may get split, because it will be hard to make a case for Hillary Clinton to gay Repubicans.
After Rev. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently wrote on his blog that science “points to some level of biological causation” for homosexuality, the media is once again focusing public discourse on the question of whether there is a biological cause, and possible cure, for homosexuality. If anyone still thought the old biological “its not a choice” argument would solve the issue of gays rights, think again. It was a failed political strategy from the start, and is becoming more and more useless. It’s time for a change in political strategy. Why don’t gay people, and the media, pay more attention to SOCIOLOGY, and not just biology. The argument for an immutable biological “sexual orientation” is so full of holes (scientific, ethical, philosphical, and political) I can’t believe it is still being taken seriously by the gay movement, its opponents, and the media.
I’ve brushed off an old essay I wrote, based on research I was doing for my doctoral dissertation (“Beyond Essentialism and Constructionism: The Making of Gay Identity”), and have updated it for current events: ---- Can Straight People Change? The Politics of Gay Identity Jim D. Maynard
The Religious Right has traditionally argued that homosexuality is a choice and that gays and lesbians can, and should, "change" (i.e., become heterosexual through reparative therapy or religious conversion). In response, liberal advocates for gay and lesbian civil rights argue that homosexuality, or sexual orientation in general, is not a choice and that gays and lesbians should have civil rights protections because they are born gay or lesbian and cannot change their sexual orientation. Both of these arguments are misleading and oversimplify scientific facts and research on sexual orientation.
In a new twist, Rev. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote that science “points to some level of biological causation” of homosexuality, but he supports finding a scientific “cure,” since he believes homosexuality is still a sin. He wrote, “If a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use...to avoid sexual temptation and and the inevitable effects of sin.” The media is once again focusing on the issue of a biological cause and cure of homosexuality. Why all the focus on the question of can gays change? Why not ask “Can straight people change”? Both questions focus on the same issue: If we could change our sexual orientation/identity, do we have a right to make that choice? This is the important issue.
As a sociologist, I am very leery of any theory of biological determinism to explain human behavior. The argument that human sexuality is biologically determined is contrary to social scientific research, which suggests that sexuality is largely socially constructed. It ignores not only the sociological evidence against an innate unchangeable sexuality, but also the radical insight of Freud, that humans are not born "heterosexual" or "homosexual," and that that the development of a an exclusive "heterosexuality" requires the repression of homosexual desire. Even Kinsey, the much misunderstood and misquoted sex researcher, rejected the concept of an innate sexual orientation, preferring to categorize people based on their sexual behaviors, and used a continuum from exclusive homosexual to exclusive heterosexuality to map human sexual behavior. Kinsey had to use this continuum because human sexual behavior did not fall into exclusive heterosexuality and homosexuality categories as the innate theory of sexual orientation suggested. Kinsey never argued that heterosexuals and homosexuals were two separate innate sexual orientations. Like Freud, he believed that all human beings were potentially bisexual.
As Foucault and other social researchers have demonstrated, there have not always been "homosexual" and "heterosexual" people; these labels were created by western European sexologists to control and limit sexuality to one of two types, with one being superior to the other. Foucault links the categorizing of "homosexuals" and other deviants to a broader structure of knowledge and power, a form of social control designed to separate the "normal" (heterosexual) from the "abnormal" (homosexual). Jonathan Katz looks at the other side of this question in his book The Invention of Heterosexuality (1995), which demonstrates that heterosexuality, like all human sexuality, derives not from immutable nature but from different historical, cultural methods of organizing the sexes and sexual desire. Heterosexuality, like homosexuality, is a social construction specific to certain cultures and historical circumstances.
Scientific research suggests that "sexual orientation" is a very complex phenomenon with many factors (biological, psychological and sociological) contributing to its development. No single factor can explain why people are homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual, and there may be different determinant factors for different people. As Kinsey demonstrated, sexual orientation is best viewed not as distinct categories, but as a continuum from exclusively heterosexual desires and behavior to exclusively homosexual desires and behaviors. Many people fall somewhere in the middle of this continuum in their desires or behavior, therefore, whether or not people can change their sexual orientation or sexual identity would depend upon where there were on that continuum. Kinsey's research revealed that while only about 8 percent of the male population in his sample engaged in exclusively homosexual behavior, almost half of the male population had some same-sex experiences or desires. More recent research confirms the basic finding that while only a small percentage of the population has exclusively homosexual experiences, or identifies as "gay" or "lesbian," many "straight" people have same-sex desires or experiences.
What about freedom of choice? Why do many in the mainstream gay movement argue that it is impossible to choose to be gay or lesbian? Many radical feminists argue that women can choose to be lesbian; that identifying as a lesbian is a social and political choice available to women to liberate themselves from patriarchy and compulsory heterosexuality. The early radical gay liberationists argued that gay liberation requires the sexual liberation of everyone from the socially constructed hetero/homo dichotomy. They believed that everyone could be "gay." They rejected the scientific claim that homosexuality was a biological or psychological pathology or that same-sex desire was even "abnormal." The gay rights movement created a modern "gay" identity. There have not always been "gay" people, so it is erroneous to claim that people are "born" gay. Bisexuals are also left out of the "sexual orientation is not a choice" paradigm, since they can choose their sexual identity. If we base gay/lesbian rights on the argument that it is not a choice, then we exclude bisexuals and deny their right to choose.
Mainstream gay/lesbian organizations have embraced questionable biological explanations of homosexuality (from the "gay gene" to the size of the hypothalamus) as a political tool to support gay and lesbian civil rights. In doing so, they are accepting the implicit premise that political equality for lesbians and gay men depends on whether being gay or lesbian is a choice or is biologically innate, while ignoring the question of whether heterosexuality is innate and challenging the heterosexist assumption that heterosexuality is preferable to homosexuality, unless the later is innate and immutable. It also assumes that "scientific" opinion is free from cultural and political bias, which it is not. Science has never been and cannot be "value-neutral." Freud, Kinsey, the early sexual reformers, as well as the current scientific researchers pursuing the Holy Grail of the "gay gene", are all directed by their personal moral and political values and beliefs. By accepting these terms for the political debates over gay/lesbian rights, we become vulnerable to the "ex-gay" groups who argue that gays and lesbians can change. The purpose of the "ex-gay" ad campaign (and the public focus on whether gays can change) is to undermine the central claim of the gay/lesbian rights movement that people are born gay or lesbian and that it is not a choice since no one can change their sexual orientation. The religious right is exploiting an opportunity handed to them by the misguided strategy of the liberal/mainstream gay movement.
While it is necessary to respond to the exaggerated claims of the "ex-gay" movement, it is not necessary to embrace their terms for the debate. We do not have to argue over whether or not "ex-gays" have really changed from gay to straight. Even if a few individuals are able to change their sexual orientation, or at least their sexual behavior and identity, it does not follow that everyone can or should change. We should focus the political debate on the freedom of people to be gay, lesbian or bisexual regardless of how or why they arrive at their sexual identity, not wasting time on the futile "nature vs. nurture" debate; it is a false and useless debate.
We need to develop a political strategy that does not assert that sexual orientation is innate and impossible to change. This argument is not supported by social or biological scientific evidence, and diverts attention away from the crucial political and moral questions of sexual justice to debates over the etiology of sexual orientation. We need to make a strong political argument for gay, lesbian and bisexual equal rights that is not based on questionable scientific research.
The beginnings of an approach to gay/lesbian equality that is not based on claims of a biologically mandated "sexual orientation" have been taking shape over the past decade. Beginning with the groundbreaking social, historical and philosophical arguments of Michel Foucault and queer theory and postmodernist sociological studies and research on the "social construction" of sex, gender and sexuality, we now have new tools to use in the fight for sexual justice. The political and legal fields have been slow to grasp the social constructionist argument but some legal scholars are beginning to catch on.
In 2001, Kenji Yoshino, an Asian-American law professor at Yale, wrote an article in the Yale Law Review arguing that by focusing on "immutable traits," the race model that many civil rights groups, including gays, have attempted to apply to their struggle for equal rights may obscure other forms of discrimination that all groups, even blacks, may be subject to but that are not forbidden by the law. Instead of sidestepping "behavior", he argues, we should call attention to it and attack the "coerced assimilation" of social minorities. Even IF a trait like race or sex could be changed, it is unjust to force people to assimilate (i.e., change)! The argument that "they" (i.e., blacks, gays, etc.) could change if they wanted to is NOT sufficient legal reason to discriminate against a group based on their "difference."
David Richard, a professor of law at New York University recently wrote a book, Identity and the Case for Gay Rights: Race, Gender, Religion as Analogies (1999), that should have received more attention than the questionable "gay gene" studies. In this wonderful book, Richards shows that the racial and gender models are not the best cases to use for gay rights. He argues very persuasively that the struggle for religious freedom offers a more compelling analogy for gay rights because "gay identity" involves an ethical decision of conscience. The argument for "gay rights" should not be based on questionable scientific claims of the biological immutability of "sexual orientation," but rather on the right of gays and lesbians to CHOOSE their sexual identity! This argument sets aside the biological argument and bases gay rights upon the constitutional right to speak and the freedom of conscience guaranteed to religious groups.
There are many problems with the “people cannot choose to be gay” biological argument: it ignores the sociological evidence of the social construction of sex, gender and sexual identity; it ignores bisexuality and the right of bisexuals to choose their sexual identity; it ignores the few but undeniable cases of people who have “changed” their sexual identity (gay to straight and straight to gay!). Even if science could prove a biological cause of sexual orientation, the anti-gay right has even embraced eugenic research to “cure” it. The biological argument is inadequate and fails to address the complexity of sexual identity and justice.
Our right to be gay or lesbian or bisexual is the right to be free from religious and government interference in our private lives, to make our choices about who we have sex with and who we want to have intimate relationships with (as long as they are consenting adults). Let's not let those opposed to sexual equality take away our right to choose. To be gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight involves making a series of choices. Those choices should be a right like any other basic human right, and not dependent upon scientific opinion about how and why a person arrives at their sexual identity. Let's defend the freedom to choose our sexual identity and quit hiding behind questionable scientific dogma.
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction (1980) Jonathan Katz, The Invention of Heterosexuality (1995) Edward Stein, The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation (1999) Vera Whisman, Queer by Choice (1996) Vernon A. Rosario (Ed.), Science and Homosexualities (1997) Edward Stein, Forms of Desire (1990) David A. Richards, Identity and the Case for Gay Rights: Race, Gender, Religion as Analogies, (1999, Univ of Chicago) Morris B. Kaplan, Sexual Justice: Democratic Citizenship and the Politics of Desire (1997, Routledge) Queer By Choice Website http://www.queerbychoice.com
I hope this is the LAST post I do on Matt Sanchez, the former "straight gay pornstar," who is now the boytoy of the anti-gay right-wing Christo-fascists. Sanchez, who appears in over 30 "gay porn" flicks now claims is is not and never was "gay." He has denounced his gay porn past on Salon.com and says porn is "liberal". He has been embraced by right-wing nuts from David Horowitz to Kevin McCullough, who uses Sanchez as a case example of the "filth" of homosexuality, and proof that homos can change. Nevermind that Sanchez claims that he was NEVER gay to begin with! Of course "straight" men can fuck other men, history is full of examples of that. But these wing-nuts seem to only focus on sexual behaviors of "homosexuals." Sanchez is playing right along, thanking McCullough for writing this piece on him. I guess he has found a way to make more money off the backs of gay people, he will become the next darling of the "ex-gay" business, no doubt focusing his book on how he overcame his homosexual porn past. McCulough repeats the same talking pionts of Matt Sanchez, Ann Coulter and the right of the anti-gay conservative Reich: It is LIBERALS who are intolerant and "homophobic"! UNBELIEVABLE! Matt Sanchez is a "proud Marine", writing endlessly about how great the marines are, and the military, which may be kicking him out along with the proud gay soldiers, if the current chair of the joint cheifs has his way. General Pace, chair of the Joint Chiefs says that homosexuality is "immoral" and should not be tolerated in the military. Will Sanchez challenge the anti-gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy" or will he continue to defend the anti-gay military establishment? Sanchez praises the new film "300" for its graphic portrayal of violence and militarism and cheers the Spartans kicking the ass of the "drag-queen" Persians. Talk about re-writing history! Do they not teach world history at Columbia?? Those Spartan warriors were HOMOS ! The Sacred Band of Thebes "is usually considered as the prime example of how the Ancient Greeks used homoerotic and homosexual relationships between soldiers in a troop to boost the fighting spirit of their militaries." Wow, why doesn't the U.S. military learn from history?
Message to Matt Sanchez and the gay Uncle Tom Republicans: No, we "gay lefties" are not intolerant of everyone who disagrees with us (hell we disagree with each other all the time!). Quit trying to change the topic from your right-wing, racist, sexist, militaristic, pro-corporate, political agenda. What we, what I, do not tolerate are Uncle Tom Republicans who sell out their own community for tax breaks and capital gains tax cuts, and support illegal wars and wasteful military spending to spread "democracy" (i.e., capitalism) and U.S. imperialism throughout the world and feed more hate and terrorism against us. Yes, I HATE fascists! I despise you! Not because I "disagree" with you, but because you are responsible for and support militarism, war, poverty, misery and anti-gay Christian fascism! You are a threat to democracy and your support of the Republican Party and conservatism is underming the U.S. Constitution! We have NOTHING in common and I do not even see us as part of a "gay community." We are on opposing sides of a class struggle! So I have had enough of you Matt Sanchez, you are a LIAR. You have used the "gay community" for years and made money off us, like most conservative porn makers and bar owners who take money from the "gay community" and funnel it back to the Republican Party and anti-gay political organizations. You obviously have NO respect for gay people, especially the men you have screwed trying to prove what a macho man you are (not). Please go and leave us alone and quit using us to further your "career."
--- Response from Matt Sanchez: Get a grip. You've blamed me for everything everything except for Lincoln's assassination. No wonder no one takes you seriously.
I am endorsing Rudy Giuliani for the GOP Presidential nomination! No I will not endorse him for the general election, but I want, BEG, the Republicans to nominate him as their candidate! Why? What could be better for the Democrats than forcing the "pro-family," "pro-life," anti-gay, conservative Republicans to defend a candidate who has been divorced three times, supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to abortion, supports most "gay" rights, shacked up with gay men, and likes to dress in drag! Hell, Rudy could be our first "gay" president! His nomination could really shake up the GOP base and cause a split in the Republican Party! Maybe the right-wing anti-gay/pro-life nuts will not vote! Maybe they will form their own party and leave the Republicans with their rich country-club wing. While Giuliani is OK, or at least tolerable, on most social issues, he was a neo-fascist mayor and would no doubt be a neo-fascist president, cracking down on "crime" (i.e., colored folks), and continue the militaristic nationalist crusades of George W. Bush against the rest of the world. Contrary to the media hype after 9/11, he botched that up too. He would be a disaster as president.
Ironic that the Republicans who supported impeaching Bill Clinton for lying about a private consensual sexual affair, oppose impeaching Bush for lying about Iraq and misleading Congress, deliberately using forged intelligence, and now argue that purgery is not a serious crime and Scooter Libby should be pardoned. ANd what crime was Scooter Libby covering Up? Read this and find out what Cheney and company were trying to keep out of the media:
Conservatives sure know how to play the "victim card" they accuse women, blacks, gays and poor people of playing... Over on his blog Matt Sanchez whines about how he has been mistreated by mean liberals and how the conservatives love him. He's full of shit. Is he really dumb enough to think Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity would have had him on their shows if he was an openly gay man who wanted to serve in the military? Hell no. The consevative Republicans want to kick people like him OUT of the military, or at least the proud gay ones. The anti-gay Republicans will accept repressed homosexuals who confess their sins and deny being gay and attack liberals, progressives and "socialists" who support equal civil rights, peace and social justice. Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame Matt... Now if you really want to be a "hero" join the campaign to end the military's Don't Ask Dont' Tell policy of kicking out openly gay soldiers. Then maybe I will listen to your whine. And I recommend you read David Brock's BLINDED BY THE RIGHT to learn the truth about the anti-gay Republicans, and some stories about a drunk Ann Coulter crawling around on gay bar floors.
Instead of focusing on the bigotry in the Republican Party, these Uncle Tom's try to turn the tables on the facts and accuse their liberal critics of being "intolerant."
Speaking of Uncle Tom Republicans, here is a good response by John Aravosis to the gay conservative republicans who criticize Clinton and the Democrats for being "anti-gay" while they support the party that attacked Clinton and Democrats for supporting the "gay agenda"
You can't make this up! See that hot hunk posing with neo-fascist bitch Ann Coulter? His name is Matt Sanchez. He is a conservative Marine and Columbia University student who has been making the rounds on conservative talk shows to complain about how he has been mistreated by radical "socialist" anti-military students on campus. He even made an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference with Ann Coulter (where she "jokingly" called Dem. Presidential candidate John Edwards a "faggot"). He may look familiar to you gay porn sluts, he is also known as ROD MAJORS, and has appeared in many gay porn films, including "Patriot Ass" and "Jawbreaker".
WARNING: these links will show nude pictures of Rod Majors and his "11 inch uncut monster".
Remember "Jeff Gannon", Karl Rove's gay hustler who was treated as a journalist in the White House Press room? Here's another Uncle Tom Republican queer conservative who kisses (among other things) the asses of his oppressors.
Now that Libby has been convicted for lying and obstructing "justice", maybe the media and the DEMOCRATIC Congress will start looking at the REAL, underlying crimes of Bush and Cheney. As the jurors admitted after the verdict today, the real question is why was Scooter Libby on trial and NOT Cheney and Karl Rove? There are many more crimes to be investigated, crimes which led to an illegal war and occupation of Iraq. Now, this isn't "Libbygate" it is IRAQGATE! It is time the Democrats in Congress got some backbone and gonads and start the investigations that WILL lead to the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney.
And think about this, we have now had 3 REPUBLICAN presidents and administrations who have engaged in criminal acts that undermined the U.S. Constitution they swore to protect and uphold: Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Iraqgate. Reagan and Bush Sr. got away with illegally waging a terrorist war against Nicaragua and arming terrorists in Iran! (The World Court found Reagan guilty of TERRORISM in Central America!) Will Bush Jr. get away with illegally invading Iraq and lying to Congress, the American people and the world??
For a good summary of the underlying facts and crimes of Iraq/Libbygate, see this excellent article over on Common Dreams: Libbygate: Now Let's Get to the Real Story by Dave Lindorf. If Libby is guilty, then so are Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush!
For more on the case for Impeachment see: WORSE THAN WATERGATE, by John Dean THE CASE FOR IMPEACHMENT by Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky
"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I - so kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards," Ann Coulter told GOP activists attending the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
Democrats were quick to condemn her remark.
Howard Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman, called on Republican presidential contenders to denounce the "hate-filled" comment.
Edwards' campaign sent an e-mail to supporters calling the comment a "shameless display of bigotry."
It asked supporters to help raise $100,000 in "Coulter Cash" so that the former North Carolina senator could show "every would-be Republican mouthpiece that their bigoted attacks will not intimidate" him.
The Republicans who attended the conference laughed and applauded Ann Coulter’s anti-gay bigotry. She also recently called Al Gore a “Fag,” and mocked the widows of 9-11 victims. She seems to now represent what the Republican Party has become, a party of bigotry and hate. Will the Republican Party and the Republican candidates who shared the stage at Conservative Political Action Conference (Mitt Romney & Rudy Giuliani) denounce Coulter’s anti-gay bigotry, or do they support her hatred of the the people of United States of America?
Will the media hold Coulter and her conservative audience under the same microscope they hold every word of Democratic leaders and candidates?
(I agree with Richard Kim at The Nation Faggot Feud, Ann Coulter has a serious gaydar problem if she really things Al Gore and John Edwards are "fags." More likely, she know they are not, and is using "fag" and "faggot" to refer to "effiminate" liberal men who care about people, the environment, the poor, etc. She equates "liberal" and "faggot".)
Here's more on Ann Coulter's Faggot Remark and Mitt Romney over on Alternet
ABC 24/CW30 “Eyewitness News” ran a sensationalized story last night about “violent lesbian gangs”. What caught my attention was lead-in headlines about “gay gangs.” While the reporter gave a disclaimer at the end that they were not trying to stereotype the gay and lesbian community, the Sheriff Deputy (Beverly Cobb) came across as a homophobe, scaring parents with the claim that these violent lesbians are “sodomizing” and raping girls in public restrooms, and “recruiting” them. It was just like the story Fox 13 did a few years ago about “gay men” having public sex in Overton Park in front of children (with a rainbow flag in their video footage!). It would be nice if the local media would do some stories about REAL gays and lesbians for a change!
The printed story online is tame compared to the video they broadcasted, so check out the video link to see what they aired. While the online story deletes terms like ‘gay gang” and violent “lesbian gangs”, the broadcast on TV emphasized the “gay/lesbian” angle, despite their disclaimer. I believe I:F has contacted them and may be following up on it.
The story has been removed from the eyewitnessnews website, but here it is: http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=3decdd0a-e491-4b53-9e90-c8fcf3d00280
Girl Gangs Getting Violent Last Update: Feb 28, 2007 10:37 PM Posted By: Rebecca Medina
Gang Specialists tell Eyewitness News Everywhere G-T-O’s are raping and sodomizing young girls and they're doing some of this at school. A Shelby County Gang Unit specialist says girl gang members are raping other young girls at local schools. Deputy Beverly Cobb has been with the Gang Unit for more than four years, she is POST certified by the state of Tennessee to train deputies on how to identify and handle gang members. Prior to coming to work with the Gang Unit she worked with the Memphis & Shelby County Criminal Court system.
She says the attacks are happening inside school bathrooms and stairwells. This isn’t news to two G-T-O members currently serving time for identity theft and robbery. Anissa and Karen strongly deny their organization is a gang. They say their organization came together more than a decade ago. It was to take in and support young women being shunned by their families for coming out of the closet. They say G-T-O used to be about love.
Cobb says those days are over and today's younger generation of G-T-O's are about anything but love. She says male gangs focus on making money. She says female gangs focus on power. And to G-T-O’s there is nothing more powerful than forcing young girls to have sex. Anissa and Karen don't deny that the new generation of G-T-O's is a violent one. They say it's causing big problems for a group of women who wanted nothing more than to go unnoticed. Cobb says this gang is bold and unlike any gang she's ever studied. She says its members want everyone to know they're here, and your daughters will have to deal with them whether you like it or not.
Members of the gay community notified us to tell us they had concerns about our story. Our investigation did not turn up widespread violence in schools due to this. However, gang specialists say the victims they have dealt with claim they've been sexually assaulted or harassed at the following schools.
1.Craigmont Middle School 2.Craigmont High School 3.Trezevant Vocational Technical School 4.South Side High School 5.Frayser High School 6.Hamilton High School 7.Kirby High School 8.Ridgeway High School 9.Germantown High School 10.Bolton High School
Gang specialists say they don't have hard statistics because those calling the gang unit are too embarrassed or afraid to report G-T-O members.